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Indigestion, Heartburn & Trapped Wind Explained

What is Indigestion

Indigestion basically means difficulty in digesting food. It is a common term which is often used to describe any or all of the following symptoms, suffered after eating or drinking:-

  • Pain in the upper abdomen or chest.
  • Belching and feeling bloated.
  • Wind.
  • A feeling of "fullness" after eating.
  • Feeling sick and vomiting.
  • Heartburn - which can develop at any time and may not be as a result of eating or drinking.

Acid indigestion specifically occurs when you have too much acid in your stomach and this causes pain and discomfort. Acid Indigestion can be caused by a number of different factors but it is often related to our lifestyle. Being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming certain types of food and drink can contribute to the development of acid indigestion.

What is Heartburn?

You know when you have heartburn if you feel discomfort rising up behind your breastbone, especially when lying down or after a late meal. The muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus (oesophageal sphincter) normally acts as a barrier to keep acid in the stomach. If this fails to work properly then acid can pass back into the oesophagus (food pipe) from the stomach and irritate the oesophageal lining – this is known as acid reflux. The burning pain felt as a result is commonly referred to as heartburn.

In some sufferers the weakness of the oesophageal sphincter is caused by an underlying reason. However, in others the cause of this defect is unknown and you should speak to your doctor about how to manage your acid reflux.

Trapped Wind Explained:

Trapped wind is the build up of air bubbles in the stomach and lower intestine. When suffering from trapped wind you may feel bloated, feel the need to belch or break wind and your stomach may rumble.

Our digestive system produces different gases naturally but problems occur when the body can’t disperse these gases. Tiny air bubbles may travel down the intestine, collect and cause pain and discomfort, as well as flatulence.

There are many different causes of trapped wind but these include:

  • Certain types of food and drink are known to increase the production of gas (e.g. beans, cauliflower and root vegetables).
  • Drinking too many carbonated drinks can add excess gas to your digestive system.
  • Swallowing air due to gulping down food too quickly, or eating on the move can cause trapped wind